#DITLife: January 3, 2017 – Back from Break

This post is part of the “Day in the Life” project by Tina Cardone.

10:39am – I remembered last night I was supposed to write this but then forgot until just now. The first day back has been ok so far. I didn’t get in quite as early as I wanted, but I didn’t have a lot to do. I printed a midterm reflection document for my seniors to complete, and then took care of some emails before school started. In Algebra 2 we did a Participation Quiz, so I had to tweak some of the slides to be more specific about what we’re doing. I also wanted to include a slide that reviews basic expectations for class. Not that I have a ton, but the reminder to be decent people I think is always valuable. We’re also changing our office hours to give more support to students in subjects (so instead of “Mr. B has office hours this day” it will be “Algebra 2 office hours are always in this room”).

I made a special effort to do as little work as possible over the break by leaving the Algebra 2 midterms at school. And it was good that I got to relax a little bit. But now this stack is staring me in the face and I’m not sure when it’s going to get done. Also I’m trying to balance a ton of other Grade Level Leader responsibilities.

Speaking of the midterm, I just had to have a conversation with a student that I think cheated on the exam. Those conversations are awful because you want to believe the student when they say it’s their own work, but also you know that it’s not. And I haven’t found a good way to say “I still like you as a person, even though I think you made a bad choice” and “I understand making this bad choice, but there are still consequences” and “I will respect you more if you admit that you screwed up”. And unless you actually witness the kid looking at another paper there’s always a chance you’re wrong. I don’t think I am, but I acknowledge a level of fallibility to the whole process. I’ve gotten better at it as I’ve taught longer, but I still don’t enjoy it.

I have two planning periods in a row off, so I think I’m going to spend the next one grading some exams. Good times.

1:28pm – Definitely didn’t do grading, instead visited a Latin class and talked with some other teachers I ran into about Senior stuff. I think inter-visitations are so, so important and I just don’t do them enough. And almost no one comes into my classroom anymore. The staff is stretched really thin this year and that’s one of the places it manifests. I just like seeing how other teachers have set things up and stealing ideas from them. It’s also rewarding to find things to shout out at meetings and to the staff.  Now that we’re back from break I’m going to post an #ObserveMe sign this week and try to get more staff to visit.

In my IB Studies classes, the rough draft of their internal is due this Friday (which I’ll probably extend to Monday). I’ve tried to give them PLENTY of time to work on it but I just found a student that didn’t even have data yet. If they don’t submit the internal they can’t get the IB certificate for math, plus I’ve set it up so I don’t think they can pass the semester, so I have to figure out how much effort I should put in. On one hand I really want to make sure they get the certificate, but on the other there has to be some degree of personal responsibility. I have to decide what I’m going to do before tomorrow.

Today’s Algebra 2 lesson is going well, at least. They’re not getting as far as we’d like, but it’s always good to over-plan rather than under-plan. And I think we’re set for the rest of the week as far as practice goes.

7:00pm – I’ve been terrible about keeping this up today, partly because I’m so scatterbrained on the first day back. After my Algebra 2 class we had Advisory, where we tried (in fits and starts) to plan a service project. Then I was going around the school checking little things off the to-do list, looking for seniors and other teachers. After sending some emails, I started grading around 5 and did that until now. I have a few more emails to send and then I’m out. The next two days I can’t stay so late so I wanted to get as much accomplished as possible. Which only sort of happened, but that’s ok. Late night, so signing off.

#DITLife: December 23, 2016 – Winter Break

This post is part of the “Day in the Life” project by Tina Cardone.

11:32am – I completely forgot to start this this morning so I’ll just recap it from here.

I got up at normal time, but since I’m catching a bus right after school I had to haul a suitcase and presents to school with me. So even though it’s chilly outside I was sweating by the time I got to the building. Went out to grab breakfast because we didn’t have anything at home and then made some copies.

During our first period meeting we talked about our plan for the first few days back from break. When I was a student teacher, Chris told me the smartest thing you can do is make sure you have the first day back after break already planned before you go on break. It really does save so much stress. And because of some changes in pacing we’re making, we’re actually planned for at least the first three, probably the first four days back. So when we do get back from vacation we can be ahead of the game and I can focus on the grading that I’m not taking home over break. Which is basically the 70 Algebra 2 midterms that we gave last week and I just haven’t had the time or energy to look at.

My IB Studies class was mainly just reminding them to turn in their introductions today and then giving them time to work, so the class was really simple. And then in Algebra 2 they had an independent problem solving activity so overall it’s a really light teaching day.

In my two planning periods I made some changes to the lessons that we talked about during our morning meeting, and also watched them install the new projector in my room. I’ll finally have a smartboard again! Or at the very least a wall-mounted projector. We’ve had a box projector on a projector cart in my room for two and a half years now and it’s in the say and annoying. So when we get back it should be good to go!

Right now I’m in my second IB Studies class while they work. I have to check to see who has already submitted their introductions and give any feedback necessary. I thought I might get to some grading today but after this class I have Algebra 2 again, and then I have to pack-up real quick so I can leave right when the day ends. We have off January 2nd, which is nice I guess, but I’d really, really rather have gotten today off so the commute home wouldn’t take 5 hours.

1:34pm – Scarfing down lunch so I can get out of here on time. My afternoon classes went the same as my first two classes, but I spent this last period

2:13pm – So as I was typing the last bit, my co-worker came in in a panic because she forgot to book her bus ticket. So I checked my own bus tickets and found out I booked them for the wrong direction. They’re fixed now but that was insanely stressful for a about ten minutes. Just made copies for Algebra 2 when we get back, and I’m just sitting here waiting for happy hour to start (since I now have an extra two hours before I get on a bus).

3:15pm – I straightened up my room a little bit but that’s it. I’m so ready for break that my brain isn’t functioning enough to grade or plan. Off to a week of not doing much work at all.